Saban's Power Rangers Delivers a Mighty Good Time
- Ryan Duncan
- 2017 24 Mar
Despite the absurd source material, Power Rangers manages to create a story that's fun, thrilling, and at times, even poignant. Whether you're an old fan or simply looking for an enjoyable pastime, this movie won't disappoint. 3.5 out of 5.
In the small town of Angel Grove, five troubled teenagers are mysteriously drawn together after stumbling upon a cluster of hidden coins in a nearby mine. Jason (Dacre Montgomery) is the school golden boy who's recently fallen from grace. Kimberly (Naomi Scott) is a former "It" girl dealing with the fallout of a cruel prank. Billy (RJ Cyler) is the class nerd who also happens to be on the autistic spectrum, Trini (Becky G) is the town loner, and Zack (Ludi Lin) is the local delinquent with a heart of gold. Together, these five learn they are destined to become the newest generation in a line of galactic warriors known as Power Rangers.
Power Rangers can best be described as one part Breakfast Club and one part Batman Begins. The movie takes its time setting up the conflict, and chooses instead to focus on developing characters. All of the main cast are relatable, and the young actors do a stellar job with their roles, though it's Cyler who steals the show as the lovably pure-hearted Billy. It helps too that the five newcomers are buoyed by performances from seasoned names like Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks. Cranston brings a respectable gravitas to his role, while Banks is clearly having a ball playing an over-the-top villain. Lastly, we have Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5, which is basically the cherry on the sundae. Of course, longtime fans can expect a deluge of in-jokes and nostalgic throwbacks. The creators of Power Rangers know how ridiculous the original series was, and they're not afraid to poke fun at themselves while elevating their movie to higher levels. It all makes for a solid action film with plenty of laughs to go around.
As you might expect, the movie is largely geared towards viewers who grew up watching Power Rangers on TV. While those unfamiliar with the series can still enjoy the film, some jokes will probably sail over their heads. Additionally, the story's final arc doesn't quite deliver everything it promised. Fans will get their big fight scene, but not the radiant brawl they hoped for. Above all though, the movie's biggest offense is its product placement. While it's not uncommon for action movies to feature a certain brand now and then, this sponsorship was about as subtle as a rampaging megazord. When you have your main villain break from a battle to indulge in Krispy Kreme, you know you've gone too far.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
While there are themes of redemption, sacrifice, and forgiveness scattered throughout the story, Power Rangers largely ignores anything spiritual. The one exception is a brief scene where nuns are shown singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain." Allegedly, an object known as the Zeo Crystal is capable of creating life on planets, but this plot detail is never explored.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, language, and adult situations
- Language/Profanity: B*ch, slut, *ss, sh*t, the Lord's name is taken in vain, some scattered cursing.
- Sexuality/Nudity: Aliens are briefly shown without clothing but no genitalia is seen; a teenager realizes he accidentally masturbated a cow (nothing is shown); one girl is shown in her underwear; Kimberly is in trouble for sending out a nude photo of a friend, but this is never seen and the seriousness of this action is given appropriate weight; some boys are shown bare chested; a joke about masturbation; Trini is revealed to be a lesbian, but this is more alluded to and no physical displays are ever seen; a quick kiss between teens.
- Violence/Frightening/Intense: Power Rangers is an action movie and features a heavy amount of violence; teens are involved in several car accidents though no one is killed, teens jump off a mountain into water, characters spar in martial arts, an alien dies while another is killed by an asteroid strike, fights against rock monsters, a robot battles against a giant gold monster, a character is knocked out via head-butt; Rita attacks Trini in her home, Rita kills a number of people off-screen, a police officer fires a gun, a main character drowns but is later brought back to life.
Drugs/Alcohol: A passing reference to beer; the teens are briefly shown drinking what is assumed to be alcohol; one character is told to "pee in a cup" because her parents think she is on drugs (nothing is shown).
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Power Rangers fans; the nostalgic; people who enjoy action/adventure movies, both teens and adults; superhero enthusiasts; those who love a good origin story.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Young children and families; those looking for a peaceful movie; people who can't stand Krispy Kreme.
Power Rangers, directed by Dean Israelite, opens in theaters March 24, 2017; available for home viewing June 27, 2017. It runs 124 minutes and stars Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Elizabeth Banks, Bryan Cranston and Bill Hader. Watch the trailer for Power Rangers here.
Ryan Duncan is Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: March 24, 2017